According to a Facebook post by the estranged son of the founder of the virulently anti-gay Westboro Baptist “Church,” Fred Phelps was excommunicated from the “church” last summer and now is refusing to eat and drink and is near death in a hospice in Topeka, Kansas.
Nathan Phelps, who left Westboro 37 years ago, posted to his Facebook wall:
“I’ve learned that my father, Fred Phelps, Sr., pastor of the “God Hates Fags” Westboro Baptist Church, was ex-communicated from the “church” back in August of 2013. He is now on the edge of death at Midland Hospice house in Topeka, Kansas.
“I’m not sure how I feel about this. Terribly ironic that his devotion to his god ends this way. Destroyed by the monster he made.
“I feel sad for all the hurt he’s caused so many. I feel sad for those who will lose the grandfather and father they loved. And I’m bitterly angry that my family is blocking the family members who left from seeing him, and saying their good-byes.”
Mark Phelps, Nathan’s brother who also left the church, confirmed that the information is correct.
Church spokesman Steve Drain declines to comment on the membership status of Fred Phelps, but did confirm that the 84-year-old former leader is at Midland Hospice House, but said, “The source that says he’s near death is not well informed.”
Fred Phelps Sr., an ordained minister who started Westboro Baptist Church in 1955, was known early in his legal career as an award-winning civil rights attorney. However, after his disbarment by the Kansas Supreme Court in 1979 and the surrender of his license to practice law in federal courts in 1989, Phelps became known for his crusade against gays, marked by picket lines, the mass distribution of faxes and a multitude of lawsuits.